Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's Hard Not to Hate You (Valerie Frankel)

Valerie Frankel writes what we are all thinking but don't usually have the guts to do anything about. Which is...What the &@*% are some people thinking? From parents who are "besties" with their children, to business contacts who seem to fall off the face of the earth, to semiconscious religious bias, Frankel discuss it all. It's Hard Not to Hate You is Frankel delving into the question so many of us want to know...Where did common courtesy go?

The premise is simple. Frankel was told by her doctor that she needed to reduce stress. She very soon realized that much of her stress is due to bottling up her emotions into her "easygoing" style. After dealing with rude person after rude person, she finally decides she has had enough. She begins to handle things in a way that is not rude herself, but that shows the other person that she means business. For example, have you ever been at the gym and a person uses the treadmill next to her as a "coat and towel rack"? Well, Frankel has. Rather than seethe silently as she would have done in the past, she offers to move her stuff for her.

Frankel also takes great aim at so-called "helicopter parents". This popularity parenting style is illustrated in the story of the English teacher who busted a child for plagiarism. The child's mother accused the teacher of having a vendetta against her son. I have seen this helicopter parenting in action, and it is not pretty. Children grow up knowing that there will never be consequences, and if there are, mommy or daddy will get them out of it.

This memoir is not just about laughs, as Frankel has faced death in her family. The ease with which she mixes the two makes for a nice read. You will find herself smiling in a "knowing way" but then ask yourself, "Wait a minute. Do I do any of this?"